Collections and Research

Photo : Roger Aziz © Musée McCord Museum, 2021

Jonathan Lainey

Curator, Indigenous cultures

My first real contact with the McCord Stewart Museum was in the early 2000s when I was looking at the notes David Ross McCord had taken while visiting Wendake more than a century earlier. Since then, its outstanding collections have often intrigued and challenged me.


Jonathan Lainey joined the Museum in 2020. He studied anthropology and Indigenous studies and holds a master’s degree in history from Université Laval. His research interests include the social, political and cultural history of the Indigenous Peoples of Quebec and Canada as well as the history of objects and collections over time, particularly wampum belts. He has served as Curator, First Peoples, at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau as well as Archivist, Indigenous Archives, at Library and Archives Canada.

He has published two books, helped develop exhibitions, and written numerous articles, publications and research reports. He is also a sought-after speaker who has appeared not only in Canada, but also in the Netherlands, Japan and Australia at international conferences.

More about the Indigenous Cultures Collection
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“Les wampums au Québec du XIXe siècle à aujourd’hui : appropriation, disparition, identification,” Gradhiva, No. 33, published for the exhibition Wampum: Beads of Diplomacy in New France, 97-118, Musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, Paris, 2021.

(with Anne Whitelaw) “The Wampum and the Print: Objects Tied to Nicolas Vincent Tsawenhohi’s London Visit, 1824–1825.” In Object Lives and Global Histories in Northern North America: Material Culture in Motion, c. 1780-1980, edited by Beverly Lemire, Laura Peers and Anne Whitelaw, 176-202. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2021.

“Une médaille de Louis XV devenue un objet huron-wendat,” Nouvelle-France. Histoire et patrimoine, Vol. 1 (October 2019) 111-116.

(with Thomas Peace) “Louis Vincent Sawatanen: A Life Forged by Warfare and Migration.” In Aboriginal History. A Reader, 2nd ed., edited by Kristin Burnett and Geoff Read, 106-117. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

“Les colliers de wampum comme support mémoriel : le cas du Two-Dog Wampum.” In Les Autochtones et le Québec. Des premiers contacts au Plan Nord, edited by Alain Beaulieu, Martin Papillon and Stephan Gervais, 93-111. Montreal: Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2013.

“Les Wendats et la France aux XIXe et XXe siècles : la nostalgie d’une alliance.” In Un continent en partage. Cinq siècles de rencontres entre Amérindiens et Français, edited by Gilles Havard and Mickaël Augeron, 525-534. Paris: Indes Savantes, Collection Rivages des Xantons, 2013.

(with Marshall Becker) “The White Dog Sacrifice: A Post-1800 Rite with an Ornamental Use for Wampum,” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, (Volume 103, Part 3), Philadelphia: 2013, 272 p.

“Le fonds Famille Picard : un patrimoine documentaire d’exception,” Revue de Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, Vol. 2 (2010): 94-105.

“Le prétendu wampum offert à Champlain et l’interprétation des objets muséifiés,” Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française, Vol. 61, 3-4 (2008): 397-424.

“Les colliers de porcelaine de l’époque coloniale à aujourd’hui,” Recherches amérindiennes au Québec, Vol. 35, 2 (2005): 61-73.

(with Marshall Joseph Becker) “Wampum Belts with Initials and/or Dates as Design Elements: A Preliminary Review of One Subcategory of Political Belts,” American Indian Culture and Research Journal, Vol. 28, 3 (2004): 25-45.

La ‘monnaie des Sauvages.’ Les colliers de wampum d’hier à aujourd’hui. Québec: Septentrion, 2004. 296 p.


“Réflexions et observations d’un historien conservateur huron-wendat sur la recherche en études autochtones,” keynote address presented at Continuité et transformations des études autochtones. Les 50 ans de Recherches amérindiennes au Québec, Cabaret Lion d’Or, Montreal, November 25, 2021.

“Decolonization and conservation of Indigenous objects,” conference organized by the Indigenization and Decolonization Committee, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa, November 2, 2021.

“The Inclusion of Indigenous Voices and Perspectives in the Canadian History Hall,” Museums and Multiple Voices: How Museums Can Be a Place of Dialogue international symposium, National Museum of Japanese History, October 26-27, 2019.

“The Wampum and The Print: Stories Told and (Re)presented through the Objects Tied with Wendat Chiefs’ Visit to London, 1824-1825,” Conference on Iroquois Research, Vaudreuil, October 5, 2019.

“Histories: Creating the New Canadian History Hall,” Commonwealth Association of Museums Conference, Calgary, June 2017.

Stratégies pour la représentation authentique de l’histoire autochtone,” Engaging Authentic Indigenous Histories, Canada’s History Forum, Canadian War Museum, November 27, 2016.

“Weaving Memories: Wampum Belts and Aboriginal Recordkeeping,” Engaging with Archives and Records: Histories and Theories, 7th International Conference on the History of Records and Archives (ICHORA), University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, July 31, 2015.

“Le wampum huron-wendat,” Le tribunal de l’histoire : les trésors de la Capitale, evening organized by the Commission de la Capitale nationale and the Musée de la civilisation de Québec, Palais Montcalm, Québec City, November 24, 2014.

“Wendat Diplomacy through Material Culture,” Celebrating the Huron-Wendat Nation in Ontario: Exploring New Approaches to Learn about the Past, University of Toronto, September 13, 2013.

“Les Wendat et la France suite à la Conquête britannique,” Wendat and Wyandot Studies Conference, Wendake, June 16, 2012.

“Wampum Belts in Northeastern America: Early Recordkeeping, Current Documentation, and Repatriation,” 4th International Conference on the History of Records and Archives (ICHORA), Perth, Australia, August 2008.

“Le prétendu wampum offert à Champlain,” Migrations, transferts et échanges de part et d’autre de l’Atlantique, 133rd Congrès national des sociétés historiques et scientifiques, Québec City, June 2-8, 2008.

“Wampum Belts as Examples of Successes and Problems in the Repatriation of Aboriginal Objects,” La restitution du patrimoine matériel et immatériel. Regards croisés Canada/Mélanésie – The Repatriation of Material and Immaterial Patrimonies. A Comparative Approach Canada/Melanesia, Centre interuniversitaire d’études et de recherches autochtones, Université Laval, September 7-9, 2007.

Not to be missed!

Not to be missed!